ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - September 2000

Issue Highlight - Remembering What Matters
-  Peter Block explains the need to look deeper than fashion and technological trends to find meaning in our homes and workplaces.

 In This Issue...
Living Impossible Dreams
Ouch! Is it Time to Redesign Your Systems?
Searching Ourselves: Avoiding Office Boxing Rings
Believe It or Not— Workplace Bias Still Exists

Bedtime Stories for Your Organization
Economy Breeds Short-Sightedness

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Heard on the Street

    Pageturners        Book Reviews with a Twist

How To Manage A Motivation Machine
by Saul W. Gellerman, Ph.D.


If you’ve never had to deal with motivation issues in the workplace, count yourself lucky. Most managers have had to perform the difficult task of balancing different aspects of motivation: psychological and sociological factors, compensation, rewards, recognition and punishment. Gellerman’s book provides a very easy to understand approach for creating a motivation machine.

Motivation machine? What’s that?

It’s a set of management techniques that create a relationship between workers and their work, and between the workers themselves, that bring out the best in all of them. It requires a large devotion of management’s time. It’s not for you if you try to get by on a combination of mediocre effort and minimal cooperation.

How do I build a motivation machine?

1. Hire the best people: Hire people that are adaptable, have something to prove, are responsive to others, and are both focused and persistent.

2. Pay them well: Pay is used to attract and hold employees, empower non-financial motivators, and inject excitement through incentive programs.

3. Treat them right: Ban motivational killers such as unprofessional supervision, ignorance of people’s lifestyle needs, and depressing work environments. Provide abundant non-financial motivators such as learning, good leadership, and esprit de corps.

4. Hold them to high standards of performance: Don’t exploit people or drive them to exhaustion. Standardize results, not methods. Continuously improve on your accomplishments.

 Favorite quote: “Fast walkers can walk farther than fast runners can run.” This relates to encouraging members of a motivation machine to maintain his or her own maximum sustainable level of productivity, without overdoing it.

 Quote that’s difficult to swallow: “For those who are lucky enough to be employed in a company that has become a motivation machine, they work in a dream come true. They find themselves in the ideal work environment where their job transcends economic necessity and becomes, instead, a fulfillment; a phase of their lives they’ll always look back upon with special satisfaction.”

 One point that’s annoying: Gellerman states that motivation machines are found mainly in small organizations. However, he then cites examples of behemoth companies where motivation machines have worked well: Southwest Airlines, 3M, Gillette, and Rubbermaid.

 The book’s strong points: This book is easy to read and understand. Most people will finish it in less than 90 minutes. Only 15 minutes are needed to read the “Key Points to Remember” at the end of each chapter.

“How to Manage a Motivation Machine”, Saul W. Gellerman, Ph.D.
(c) 2000 Crisp Publications, Inc.; Menlo Park, CAISBN 1-56052-569-X
75 pages; $12.95

Reviewed by Ken Cogan, Quality Assurance Manager, IntelSat.

Book Ratings:

= Pick it up today
  **** = Overnight it
*** = Snail mail it
** = At a library?
        * = Never mind

 September 2000 NFC Homepage


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